GMO will not wipe out traditional crops – expert

An Agriculture and Biotechnology expert has described as false the claim that the proliferation of genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) will wipe out natural crops.

Mr Yarama Ndirpaya, acting Director, Partnership and Linkages, Agricultural Research Institute of Nigeria, stated this an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

"The issue of GMO wiping out natural seeds is not correct, Genetically Modified seeds are supposed to exist side by side with the traditional seeds.

"We don't even necessarily go for genetically modified crops except for some scientific reasons.

"And most of the reasons why we use genetically modified seeds in agriculture are either to combat one terrible disease or to combat one terrible insect resistance, weed resistance or herbicide resistance.

"What do we do in genetic modification is not necessarily to create a crop that will kind of compete with our natural crops.

"But to create crops based on advantage where we know that there is need and traditional conventional methods of breeding have failed.

Ndirpaya said that Nigerians should have faith in the genetically modified seeds currently on field trials in the country.

"I want Nigerians to know that genetically modified crops are not monsters as people paint them, but crops that are engineered with scientific knowledge.
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"There is no scientist who is a member of a community that would like to harm the same community, and of course our scientists are involved in the development of the genetically modified crops.

"GMO means transferring the desired genes into our local cultivations that our farmers can use with the aim of improving and increasing productivity."

He said that GMO will check cases of diseases and pests that have been stubborn that could not be controlled by conventional methods.

"There is nothing that has been scientifically proven about genetically modified foods, and the fear by the public is built on mere myth.

"The fears are not actually based on evidence. We are scientists, the day we discover that there is scientific evidence of danger of genetically modified crops we will be the first to raise the alarm.

"But for now, as I speak, the whole world – based on available evidence has scientifically been unable to pin-point any disease or specific allergy that is tied to a particular genetically modified product."

He said that over hundred nobel prize winners in various scientific fields had to come in this year 2016 to lend their voices to the world to accept genetically modified crops.

"They have no hazardous effect on individuals but have the capacity to improve agricultural productivity across the globe thereby reducing hunger and sustaining food security and creating wealth and employment."